One On One: Groundhog Day Composer Tim Minchin
Tim Minchin is an Australian composer/lyricist, musician, comedian, actor, writer and director. He was born in October 1975 and grew up in Perth, Western Australia, the second of four children. He attended Christ Church Grammar School, The University of Western Australia (Bachelor of Arts) and The WA Academy of Performing Arts (Advanced Diploma of Contemporary Music). He spent his twenties writing songs, playing in bands, acting in plays, composing for theatre, playing piano for cabaret artists and penning tongue-in-cheek beat poems. Soon after he married his university sweetheart, Sarah Gardiner, in Perth in 2002, they moved to Melbourne. Failing to garner record company support for his 2001 album, Sit (with band Timmy the Dog) and struggling to attract the attention of an acting agent, Tim survived playing keyboards for Melbourne cover-band, The Sea Monkeys, and piano for solo artists – most notably Melbourne composer, lyricist, actor and satirist, Eddie Perfect. In 2003 he debuted his first solo comic cabaret show, Navel – Cerebral Melodies With Umbilical Chords, for the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Performed with a bass player and drummer in a 50 seat venue called The Kitten Club, it contained songs, poems and sketches. It was modestly successful, inspiring Tim to perform solo more often. After regular performances at the legendary Butterfly Club during 2004, he premièred Dark Side at the RMIT Kaleide Theatre as part of the 2005 Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF). Good reviews and word of mouth attracted the attention of Karen Koren, a well-known producer, who was scouting for new talent for her Edinburgh Fringe Festival venue, The Gilded Balloon. In August that year, Dark Side became one of the most acclaimed comedy shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, and Tim won the Perrier Best Newcomer Award. Sarah and Tim’s journey from their early days in Melbourne to the birth of their first child in London in November 2006 was captured in Rock n Roll Nerd, a feature documentary made by their close friend, Rhian Skirving. The critically lauded film was shown in Australian cinemas in 2008. In the five years that followed, Tim toured the UK and Australia as a solo performer, attracting growing audiences and many awards. He also performed in Canada, the US, Europe, Scandinavia and New Zealand. By 2010, he was performing with symphony orchestras, and selling out some of the world’s most famous venues, including The Royal Albert Hall and the O2 Arena in the UK, and The Sydney Opera House in Australia. Over this time he released five DVD titles: So Live (Aust) and Ready for This? filmed at the Enmore (Aust) and Ready For This? filmed at the Apollo (UK); and Tim Minchin and The Heritage Orchestra Live at The Royal Albert Hall. In 2009, he was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) to write the music and lyrics for a stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Directed by Matthew Warchus and with a book by Dennis Kelly, the musical opened in Stratford-Upon-Avon in 2010. Matilda the Musical has gone on to become one of the most critically and popularly successful musicals of the last 20 years, winning more than 50 international awards including a record seven Olivier Awards and five Tony Awards. It continues to run on the West End, had a long and successful Broadway run between April 2013 and January 2017, played for six months in Toronto, Canada, and is currently touring the US for the second time. It opened at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney, Australia in August 2015, and has gone on to play Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. More on Matilda the Musicalhere. In 2010, Tim narrated Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing, which went on to win the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. During a trip to LA, for a charity concert in April 2012, Tim successfully auditioned for the role of Atticus Fetch in Showtime’s David Duchovny vehicle, Californication. He played rockstar Atticus in 10 episodes of season six. See the season trailer here. Later that year, Tim was cast as Judas Iscariot in the spectacular arena production of Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar. Co-starring Ben Forster as Jesus and Melanie C as Mary, it toured the UK and Australia in 2012-13. There are some quotes on Tim’s performance in the Quotes/Reviews section. The show was released on a DVD which is available worldwide. A few clips can be found here. Alongside childhood friend Toby Schmitz, Tim starred in the Sydney Theatre Company (STC) production of Tom Stoppard’s absurdist, existentialist tragicomedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, directed by Simon Phillips, in July 2013. That same year, he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters by The University of Western Australia (UWA), for his contribution to the arts. He gave the “occasional address” for the graduation ceremony, the video of which which went viral. You can see the video or read a transcript of Tim’s speech here. In 2014, Orion Publishing released a graphic novel of Minchin’s beat poem, Storm. It was created by DC Turner and Tracy King, following the success of their animated movie of the same piece which has been viewed well over three million times. Tim, Sarah and their two children, Violet (b 2006) and Caspar (b 2009) moved to Los Angeles in 2014. Tim as Smasher (Photo – ABC TV) In 2015, he appeared as Northern Irish ex-convict, Smasher Sullivan, in The Secret River, an Australian drama mini-series adapted from Kate Grenville’s acclaimed novel and directed by Daina Reid for the ABC. Towards the end of 2015, Tim guest starred as a security guard in No Activity, a comedy drama production by Jungleboys for Australian streaming service Stan. Directed by Trent O’Donnell, the series follows two detectives on a stakeout. In February 2016, Tim wrote and released Come Home (Cardinal Pell) in support of survivors of clerical abuse. The song continues to raise funds and has been shortlisted for the 2017 APRA Song of the Year. He is also working on a stage musical adaptation of Groundhog Day, with Danny Rubin (who wrote the original screenplay) and Matthew Warchus. Following its hugely successful and acclaimed limited run at The Old Vic, London, in the summer of 2016, the show transfers to the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway, Spring 2017. February 2017, Tim started filming as Friar Tuck in Robin Hood: Origins, scripted by Joby Harold and directed by Otto Bathurst. It’s scheduled for release in the US March 2018.